Handful of changes for winless Force
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The Western Force has made six changes to their squad to face the Melbourne Rebels in their final 2020 Super Rugby AU match at McDonald Jones Stadium in NSW on Saturday.
The changes include several positional switches in the starting XV, as well as the return of wing Byron Ralston who was rested against the Brumbies last week.
Ralston, who is the Force’s leading try-scorer in the competition with four tries, will start in his regular position of right wing with Marcel Brache switching to the left wing.
The second change to the run-on team is at flank, where Brynard Stander replaces Kane Koteka, who moves to the bench. Stander is a regular number eight but will slot in comfortably on the side of the scrum and continue to make an impact at the breakdown. Stander and his loose-forward partners Fergus Lee-Warner and Henry Stowers will ensure that the back row is competitive in broken play as it has been all season.
Coach Tim Sampson has kept faith with the tight five that has performed well in the past two weeks, bringing stability to the scrums and ensuring strong performances in the lineouts.
In another positional change, Wallaby Kyle Godwin returns to his usual position at outside centre after playing on the left wing against the Brumbies last week.
There are three further changes on the bench. At hooker, veteran Heath Tessmann returns to the squad after last featuring against the Reds two weeks ago.
Young prop Dominic Hardman, who replaces Tom Sheminant, makes his squad debut at Super Rugby level.
The final change sees lock Johan Bardoul return to the squad in place of Tevin Ferris. Bardoul missed last week’s clash with the Brumbies and last featured off the bench against the Reds two weeks ago.
Western Force: 15 Jack McGregor, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (captain), 8 Henry Stowers, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Fergus Lee Warner, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dominic Hardman, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Nick Jooste, 23 Jake Strachan
Date: Saturday, September 5
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-off: 15.00 (05.00 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper & Amy Perrett
TMO: James Leckie